04 May 2021

BY: Online Therapy

Attachment Therapy / Counselling / Online Counselling / Online Counsellor / Online therapist / Online Therapy

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Addressing Attachment Styles using Online Therapy

Article by Marvis Bih

Attachment styles and how it affects relationships

Have you ever wondered why you displayed the same characteristics in your relationships? We often believe that we fall for the same characteristics in potential partners and often do not understand why we react the way we do when things become a bit challenging. This is not unusual. We develop an attachment style during childhood that affects the way we respond and interact in adult relationships. This is generally referred to as attachment styles.

How did attachment styles become a theory?

The origin of attachment theory can be traced to the joint work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth (Ainsworth & Bowlby 1991). This theory was first developed in the 1930s and 1940s with Bowlby being one of the clinicians who observed the effect of separation between parents and their infants. Forming of attachment relationships are undoubtedly presented as a biological tendency used to ensure survival (Scharfe, 2017). Attachment in adults can be viewed in two ways; adult attachment anxiety which is the excessive need for other’s approval, fear of rejection, negative view of self, and an over-reaction to negative feelings in an attempt to gain the support and sympathy of others. While adult attachment avoidance refers to the excessive need to rely on oneself, negative view of others, limited self-disclosure (Mikulincer, Shaver, & Pereg, 2003)

Attachment styles


There are generally three attachment styles namely; anxious, secure, and avoidant. These attachment styles have different effects on relationships. Secure attachment is experienced by people who had a healthy childhood and are good at handling intimate relationships, while people with avoidant and anxious attachment styles struggle to achieve intimacy (Dodgson 2018).
An online counsellor can help you with handling your attachment issues more or less the same way a therapist using the traditional face to face technique would do. It usually includes unpacking your childhood experiences, identifying patterns popping up in your relationships and help you develop new ways of relating with people and forming intimate relationships (Raypole 2019). In addition, Cognitive Behavioral therapy can also be used for the online treatment of attachment issues, mindfulness practice and many more.

Therapy for attachment styles


There are available online therapies for attachment issues. Most of these existing therapies make use of principles and methods that are in line with attachment theory such as exploring significant relationships in the past, exploration of healthy therapeutic relationships (Raypole 2019). Looking for an online therapist for attachment issues will depend on a number of individual factors such as your location, symptoms, finances and many more.

Want to get in touch with a counsellor?

References.
Ainsworth, M. D. S., & Bowlby, J. (1991), An ethological approach to personality development. American Psychologist, 46, 331-341.


Dodgson, L. (2018). These are the 3 types of attachment styles — and how each affects your relationships. Insider.


Mikulincer, M., Shaver, P. R., & Pereg, D. (2003). Attachment theory and affect regulation: The dynamic development, and cognitive consequences of attachment-related strategies. Motivation and Emotion, 27, 77-102.


Raypole, C. (2019). How attachment issues impact your relationships. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/attachment-disorder-in-adults. Accessed on 02/09/2020.


Scharfe, E. (2017). Attachment Theory. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3823-1

29 Oct 2018

BY: Online Therapy

Couple Counselling / Marriage Counselling / Relationship Counselling / Skype Counselling

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Relationship Counselling using Skype

Relationship counselling using Skype:

Online Therapy provides relationship counselling using Skype or Zoom.  Generally, relationship counselling is initiated by a partner when a couple struggles to deal with issues on their own.  Couples counselling, (sometimes referred to as marriage therapy) deals with problems and conflicts that arise in the relationship.  However, relationship therapy is not only between couples; it could also be with a family member or friend.  It is possible to receive relationship counselling using Skype, provided that the couple has a private place to talk to the therapist.

Theory: Relationship Therapy

From the Online Therapy perspective, our theoretical model mainly focuses on attachment theory and is possible to apply in relationship counselling using Skype. In other words, we believe that emotional and physical attachments to at least one caregiver is required for successful personal development in children. In approximately six to ten sessions, we will explore your childhood attachments to find out how it affects your current relationships.

Attachment Styles

Based on Ainsworth et al., (1978) four main attachment styles affect how adults react to others based on their experiences as a child.  Attachment styles develop when a baby is between zero and three years of age.

Secure (autonomous)

A secure attachment is formed when a baby receives sufficient nurturing and affection.  Furthermore, babies cannot self-soothe, they receive soothing from their parents (mainly the mother), which makes the child feel comfortable and loved.  Hence, a child learns that his/her world is safe.  As an adult, this person can securely attach to a partner, easily form close friendships and is dependable in turn.  This person will not avoid difficult situations (address them maturely without fear of rejection) and will be low on anxiety.

Avoidant (dismissive)

When a baby’s needs are not met, i.e. trained to sleep alone very early (crying until asleep) without his/her distress being responded to, as an adult this person will be uncomfortable with someone getting too close. For instance, they believe their primary caregivers rejected them, their needs were not met, and they experience the world not trusting others. In the long run, parents who encourage such independence teach the child that it is NOT ok to need someone.  As adults, they are self-contained and become emotionally unavailable (avoidant/dismissive).

Anxious (Preoccupied/ambivalent)

At times, parents are inconsistent in their reaction to children. One moment, they may respond in a nurturing manner, but other times they could be insensitive or intrusive. Consequently, this parenting style confuses children and makes them feel insecure because the child does not know what behaviour to expect from the parent. As adults, they seek extreme emotional closeness and often worry that they are not loved, they may also feel abandoned.

Anxious/Avoidant (Unresolved)

Physically or emotionally abused children are consistently in survival mode.  With this in mind, the world is a terrifying place for this child.  As an adult, they do not feel safe in relationships.  In other words, as much as they crave closeness, they run away when someone gets too close.  For this reason, these adults are uncomfortable with commitment but long for a close relationship.

Conclusion

As has been noted, attachment styles formed in childhood give us a glimpse into how a child will react to adult relationships.  For further reading on attachment styles Ainsworth et al., (1978) provide useful insight into child attachment development.

References

Ainsworth MD, Blehar M, Waters E, Wall S (1978). Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 

To find out more about Relationship counselling using Skype, feel free to complete the contact form below and we will get back to you.

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